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Distraction Should Be Part Of The Scientific Method

A few things that have crossed my screen and mind today and distracted me from a pretty massive rewrite of a huge pile of nearly unworkable PHP from last year:

I've been using Mozilla instead of Firefox as, until late this afternoon, I couldn't figure out what was responsible for radically slowing it down especially when opening a new tab with either Control-T or by middle clicking a link. I messed around for far too long this past week trying to remedy the situation including a whole bunch of dead ends in various forums that all seemed to advocate the page loading recipe and little else. The weird part is that the tabs were stalling before they loaded any content at all and then doing their usual job of rendering pages speedily. Finally I decided to brave (read: grep) the dreaded xsession-errors file and figured out what was fucking the system, man. I'd installed Greasemonkey with the intent of messing around with it when I had a little more time and it was spitting out errors every single time I loaded a page. Although this solution doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to me, I uninstalled it and everything is back to normal. I can't imagine that Greasemonkey is solely at fault and there's probably a conflict between extensions that I'm not seeing but I'm happy with just working at the moment. It isn't a riveting story or anything but I figured I'd dangle it out here for the benefit of Googlers who might be experiencing the same inexplicable problem. It isn't a pretty or particularly smart fix but it worked for me.

I've also switched to amaroK as my main music player. Xmms worked wonderfully for many years and didn't drag in all of the annoying dependencies that come along with KDE applications but it has been temperamental and crashy for the past couple of weeks. Again, I'm not sure why exactly it was crashing so often but every four songs was enough to force me to consider alternatives. I've never really taken to Zinf for some reason. I can't remember exactly what pissed me off about it but when trying it again I again felt like it required too much configuration for me just to replace Xmms. amaroK also takes a little bit of configuration but it bullies you with a wizard the first time you start it up. Those requirements drive me absolutely batshit but it is kind of good to be forced to get it out of the way instead of the usual routine of installing, starting the application, and then trying to figure out why it doesn't work. I might take Zinf for another test drive in the future because my assessment is based on earlier versions of it and isn't at all fair. amaroK seems pretty stable and includes the usual array of configurable options including built-in Audioscrobbler support which was much appreciated.

I'm kind of glad that people have generally given the Das Keyboard a thumbs down. It really doesn't seem to be worth the money in terms of functionality. I'd much rather spend that kind of money (and have) on one of the Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro which at least allows you to choose between black on charcoal grey stealth letters or no letters at all if you're really out to impress your co-workers. It does cost a few bucks more than Das Keyboard but it is a radically different keyboard and not a dye job with Windows keys and caps lock. I'd still like to try one of them out to see if the split levels of weighted key groups actually make a difference but I'm not enthusiastic to part with the necessary cash. I'd probably splurge on the HHKP first. I have one of the less expensive models from a couple years back. I do wish that they had the arrow keys that my keyboard does as they come in pretty handy for games and the like. I'm a little hung up on the pragmatic dollar, I guess.

There's an article about an artist's collective constructing writing spaces and the reactions of the people enclosed in them. Weblogging was apparently a common distraction. It's an interesting concept that I'd love to see applied to coffee houses or whatnot. I think of it in the same way as a sleeper car on a train. You rent the space to do your thing in although the sex/intravenous drug use potential might make spaces like that more effort than they're worth. The idea of being contained in one for a month makes me a little itchy though.

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  1. If distraction were part of the scientific method, I’d be nominated for a Nobel Prize.

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